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A unique London café, which has been helping people gain valuable real life work experience since 2012, has helped one young woman’s confidence come on leaps and bounds.
Phoenix Blend Café, which is owned and run by social care charity Vibrance, as a social enterprise café, offers a community hub for people with learning disabilities, as well as a good cup of coffee.
The café, located near Liverpool Street Station, gives individuals the chance to gain valuable work experience and social skills in a relaxed and friendly environment. One of the café’s goals is to give people the skills they need for paid employment, and help to achieve this by working closely with local businesses.
Ashley, who has been a Vibrance service user for a number of years, started working at the café in February 2014, and continues to work one morning a week.
Ashley’s work experience journey was an on-going development, and involved her undertaking the key tasks related with running a café, including great customer service.
One of Ashley’s personal goals was to work on the till, and staff supported Ashley to achieve this goal. Staff were on-hand to continue supporting Ashley, to maintain her self-confidence and independence within the café.
Ashley has come on leaps and bounds during her time at Phoenix Blend, and is very proactive in her role. She now has the confidence to use her own initiative to see what tasks need to be carried out, rather than asking staff.
Speaking of Ashley’s journey with Phoenix Blend, manager Jane Holland, said: “Ashley is a pleasure to have working in the café, and her confidence has really grown over time. She has started building friendships with our customers, by asking how they are and how there day is, which is lovely to see.
“Ashley has passed on her knowledge to other volunteers and is keen to share what she’s learnt, which you can see gives her great satisfaction.”
Since its opening, Phoenix Blend has thrived, and become very popular in the local community, both for work experience opportunities and as a café it its own right.